Home automation and using your voice to accomplish tasks are some of the coolest developments in technology today. Just saying something like “Hey Google, I’m leaving” and watching your lights turn off and your thermostat set itself to 67 degrees is pretty neat. Then there are other cases where your voice can replace what your hand and a remote control can do, but probably shouldn’t.
An app called “Quick Remote” gives you Google Home Roku capabilities, but it’s not the greatest experience in the world. Despite this, there are plenty of valid reasons to set this up. Let’s say you have trouble with your hands, or pressing small buttons, or let’s say you just can’t find the remote for whatever reason. There’s no reason not to set this up so it’s there when you absolutely, positively need it.
Here are the steps you need to take to enable Google Home Roku support.
Get the app
The first step you need to do is to download the Google Home Roku app. The app is actually called Quick Remote for Google Home/Assistant & Roku. As the name implies, this works with either Google Home, or Google Assistant on your phone. It’s a free download, but requires an account (what doesn’t these days?). You can click this button to download the app.
It supports Google sign in, so you can just use your Google Account. Then you need to link your Google Assistant to Quick Remote. The easiest way to do that is to ask Google Assistant to perform a quick remote command. You’ll be prompted then to connect accounts. Finally, you’ll be asked to connect Quick Remote to a Roku player. As long as your phone and Roku are on the same Wi-Fi network, it’ll detect it automatically. Just tap on it and that’s it.
Using Quick Remote
Using Quick Remote is fairly straightforward. Start every command with “Tell Quick Remote” and Quick Remote will perform that command. You can say “Tell Quick Remote to start Netflix,” and Netflix will start up.
Quick Remote does two cool things and two not so cool things. The two cool things Quick Remote can do are as follows:
First, Quick Remote can execute a number of commands in sequence. For example, you can say “Tell Quick Remote to go home, then go right, right, down, down, down, and select. That will go home and then select the channel that is in the second column, three rows down. In my case, that’s the Sling TV app. Once inside an app, you can do the same thing. “Tell Quick Remote to go down, down, down, left, left” inside Netflix will navigate as such. It’s pretty awesome.
Another nice thing Quick Remote can do is called “wait.” When you tell Quick Remote to “Start Netflix and wait” it will open the app and then keep listening for the next command. In the case of Netflix, this is nice because you often will have to choose a profile before you can start browsing.
Speaking of browsing, that takes us to our main downside.
Browsing an app using Quick Remote is a pretty laborious process, especially if you’re using Google Home. Netflix is notoriously guilty of never putting columns in the same order, so your “Continue Watching” row will sometimes be at the top and other times be five rows down — if you can find it at all. This means browsing an app with Google Assistant powering Quick Remote requires, “Ok Google, tell Quick Remote to go down. Ok Google, tell Quick Remote to go down. Ok Google, tell Quick remote to go right, right, right, right, right” — you get the idea.
The wait command can offset this, but the bottom line here is that you should only really use your voice when there is absolutely no other way to do it. It’s not a bad idea to have it set up for those quick one-offs where it’s a little convenient, or just a little cool to show off to your friends.
Also, while quick remote can open apps from the home screen of Roku, once you get into the apps, you’re reduced to navigation, and that’s it. I tried a few variations of “open Netflix and play Stranger Things” to no avail. This isn’t a really big deal, but it’s worth mentioning. When using Google Assistant with something like a Chromecast, you can tell Google to do exactly that without needing a third party app.
Bottom-line, Google Home Roku support exists, but Chromecast is a better route for most users. Do you have Quick Remote setup to for your Google Home Roku controlling needs? Have any tips or tricks for your fellow readers? Let us know down in the comments!